What Dr. Micheal Collins Taught Me

Last year, I was just starting to become interested in medicine when I read the book, “Blue Collar Blue Scrubs,” by Dr. Micheal Collins about his long path to being a surgeon. This book really changed my perspective about how the world really works. It was a memoir of a surgeon who describes how he transformed from a construction worker to a doctor. Although he was happy with his initial job as a construction worker, he realized later on that he wanted to involve himself into something bigger and more meaningful than crushing rocks and drinking beer. That’s when Dr. Micheal Collins decided to go to medical school and become a doctor. Reading about his difficult situation really shook me because I have so much that I can do with my life as well. The only thing I needed to do was take an initiative for myself.

Dr. Micheal Collins’ memoir proved me wrong. I always thought that you had to be from a certain , educated background to become a surgeon/physician, but I never looked at the bigger picture, which was that anyone willing to make an effort to help out mankind could do it. Dr. Collins wasn’t from a rich, highly-educated family. He was just from a mediocre Irish family, which faced many difficulties. He rose above from all of that and decided to put his gifted hands to a meaningful cause for the sake of humanity.

This book definitely caused my brain to release a bunch of dopamine so I thought I would share it with you, if you don’t already know about it.

Go check it out if you’re interested. I promise you won’t regret it. (:


When My Teacher Told Me to Write a Shakespearean Sonnet…

Who doesn’t love a typical freshman English class in high school? It is so wonderful, creative and whatnot. So when my teacher assigned me a Shakespearean Sonnet to write last month, I thought of writing about something that is actually interesting to me. I decided to write about surgery.  Although I have never been in the operating room, I read the book, “Direct Red,” by Gabriel Weston and was greatly inspired to write about how a typical inexperienced resident may feel in the operating room (OR) at times.

Here is what I wrote :


 In the Operating Room

Feeling queasy smelling methylene blue,

Holding someone’s neck open for so long,

Cold sweat running down my back, no one knew,

Clad in the surgical gown, yet so strong.

Feeling insubstantial filled with much shame,

Moments of incapacity take charge,

For now, everything seems to be in vain,

The operating room empty and large.

Yet the feeling of suffocation stays,

The human body, a well-tuned engine,

Nonetheless, deep inside, there is a fray,

Soon it reforms as it takes medicine,

The feelings of courage and confidence,

An artisan’s craft made with brilliance.

Thanks for reading,

–Akriti Keswani

When I First Discovered What Dopamine Was ..

When I first discovered this amazing feeling the human body experiences when it gets a reward physically, emotionally or intellectually, I realized that my brain must be experiencing a lot of this. Initially, my brother told me about dopamine, a brain chemical that we release when we are motivated and driven towards something. My lack of knowledge on this matter bothered me so I decided to look it up and research it myself. I’m glad I did because this is truly amazing.

In fancy scientific terms, dopamine is a neurotransmitter, which is basically one of those chemicals in the brain that is responsible for transmitting signals in between the neurons of the brain. More importantly, dopamine helps activate the learning centers in the brain. So when you see something and are highly inspired or motivated by it, the dopamine neurons in your brain activate. It’s amazing how there’s a specific brain chemical that describes a common feeling humans experience and I think I experience this too.

Whenever a person speaks about how wonderful and innovative medicine is, I’m pretty sure my brain releases a bunch of dopamine because in this situation, I become really engaged and have a desire of learning more. I personally want to become a surgeon, not just because of how cool cutting open a body and repairing it is, but also because the life of a patient depends on your artisan skills and you challenge yourself to ensure the patient survives.

We obviously can’t literally see the dopamine our brain releases, but we can definitely feel it.  As Eric Marr says in his TED talk, “let’s get those dopamine neurons firing!”

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Also, if you’re interested, please check out Shobhit Keswani’s blog, “The end of the beginning,” on his medical related experience (link is included below.)

–Akriti Keswani


Shobhit Keswani’s blog :


Sources :

Uon, Nancy. “Dopamine is the Chemistry of Pleasure.” ViewZone. Web. 15 Mar. 2014.

Newton, Phil. “What is Dopamine?” Psychology Today. 26 Apr. 2009. Web. 15 Mar. 2014.